[Movies] Eli Roth Reveals How He Came Up With The Green Inferno Posted by Joseph Lee on 03.01.2013
The story and the problems with shooting...
While at the Glasgow Frightfest, Eli Roth told IGN about how he came up with the story for The Green Inferno and the problems he encountered while shooting it.
"It was one of the craziest experiences of my life making that movie. I love cannibal movies – I love Cannibal Holocaust, I love Cannibal Ferox, and I wanted to do one. I feel like they are due for a comeback. But I wanted to do it for a really good reason, and I didn't really have that story. So it was something that was percolating.
Then I was thinking about student activism and ‘Occupy Wall Street' and looking at students getting involved in causes over Twitter. Looking at how people are re-tweeting ‘Save Pussy Riot' and ‘Save the Dolphins.' Actually it was right after I wrote the script that Coney 2012 happened, and I was like ‘This is it. This is what my movie's about.'
It's about these kids that get so caught up in a cause because it's sexy, they don't even really take the time to learn what it's about. And you think of all these 100m YouTube views, and all these t-shirts sold and all those mugs. And then the guy's jerking off in the street and Coney's still out there, and it didn't mean sh*t. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was completely useless. OK yes, it raised awareness. But so what? It didn't catch him. It didn't stop him. I think that people want to fix things instantly, and they can use their phones to do that now.
So I wrote about these student activists who want to save these un-contacted tribes in the Amazon. Which is happening now. These corporations with GPS looking for natural gasses go in, kick out the tribe – kill them or move them out of there. Then just destroy the village and take out the gas which is in the ground. So I wrote about these students that want to stop that. They chain themselves to trees and protest and stream it and hash-tag, and it works. It actually shuts down the operation. Then on their way home, their plane crashes. And the very people they save are like "Ah, food – that's great!" It's like a free lunch, and they are brought back into the fold of absolutely barbaric, primitive man. People that have had no contact with the outside world.
So when we shot it, I wanted to film somewhere that was really, really, really in the Amazon. Really, authentically off the grid. We scouted in the summer-time and went up the river for hours and hours and found this village where there was no electricity, no running water, grass huts. Ten people in a shack. And it looked incredible; it looked like a village from another time, so we asked if we could film there. But I was told that we have to tell them what a movie is because they have no idea. They've never seen one. They've never even seen a television. So they went back with a television and a generator and showed the village Cannibal Holocaust, which I couldn't believe. And the villagers – thank god – thought it was a comedy. The funniest thing that they'd ever seen. And they wanted to play cannibals in the movie. So we had the entire village acting in the film. And they speak Quechua – which is like another language from another time.
It was a really amazing experience to live there for a month. It was five hours of travel every day, and it was no joke. We could have died any number of times – there were floods, and there were rock-slides, there were tarantulas, snakes, animals walking through shots. It was crazy. Wild horses that if you got near them would kick you and bite you. And the bugs attacking you. And it was 110 degrees – it was brutal.
Yet it was this jungle adventure – we had cameras and everyone was just so up for it. Everyone got up in the morning every day at 4.45am and got in the Land Rovers and shipped our stuff, lugged it to the boats, went up the river, lugged it to the village. And going deep into the jungle to film these sequences.
Lorenza – our actress from Aftershock – she's the lead, and she got devoured by bugs. You'd wake up and mosquitos and ants had bitten your face. You've have to sleep completely covered from head-to-toe or you'd get devoured.
But I wanted it to look like a Werner Herzog film. They call the river Aguirre because the last film to shoot there was Aguirre The Wrath of God. And we went even further beyond where they went. So it really looks like a Terence Malick film. Or Apocalypto. We strapped cameras to remote control helicopters and ran them over the Amazon. The footage looks jaw-dropping. There have never been cameras where we were. So we start in New York City and go all the way to the ends of society. You don't think these places exist until you get there, and you can't believe it.
And it was so nice to talk to these kids – every kid in the village is in the movie – and you bonded with all of them. You became friends with all the kids and all the old people. And then by the end they were all playing with iPhones and iPads. We've completely polluted the social system and f*cked them up.
But we also housed every hut in the village – we gave them metal roofs. We put corrugated metal on all their roofs and that was all they wanted because they live in straw and it rains so that really changes things for them."